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Educational Significance of Literary Text

Educational Significance of Literary Text
Jdanova Liubov, senior research associate

American University Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan

Conference participant

УДК 37: 370.174: 378: 417.3

The theme of this paper is to consider the use of a literary text as a vehicle for multicultural education students.  Education, like any other science which is based on the study and interpretation of texts of different types - the philosophical and scientific, historical, artistic and philological, cultural and others. The ability to interpret the text is used very widely and in different research areas. In the pedagogy is particularly important, because any text is the information on which the most of the pedagogical views are built.

Keywords: artistic text, hermeneutic method, multicultural education, structural and organizational unit, narrative field.

Hermeneutical method of learning has its own peculiarities due to essence of natural sciences and the humanities. Since the objective basis is the text, the language is a powerful tool for analyzing humanitarian phenomena. In many hermeneutical concepts the language is declared as focus of all humanitarian issues. Moreover, the word serves cultural, educational, and pedagogic functions, coming across as a system-forming element of culture. Another feature of the hermeneutic method is its dialogue nature. In the future, conversational nature of humanitarian learning becomes a criterion for distinguishing between humanities (dialogue form of knowledge) and natural (monologic form of knowledge) sciences, as well as the main method of learning and personality formation.

In accordance with hermeneutic approach the specificity of humanitarian learning is determined: firstly, as much dependent on socio-cultural factors; secondly, as widely using interpretive methods of research; thirdly, as having a specific subject that makes impact on research in a form of sign-symbolic material; fourthly, dialogic understanding of humanitarian learning; fifthly, as requiring the presence of axiologicity, that is, values of results of knowledge.
Works of art from different cultures are proof of not only and not differences in lifestyle and system of world outlook, but also demonstrate the closeness of values of the people, due to the fact, that literature provides indirect knowledge of culture, religion, morality aesthetics, and society. “Historically, this is known fact, the special role of literature lies in the fact that is, being verbal creation, is an expression of meaning, ideas, examples, in a word, values” (6). A value of the literature, its contribution to world culture is incomparable to anything. “Literature is also the place, where the truth, as a kind of revelation, may come to us. It shows one of sides of infinite existence, which no other area can never identify. Namely at this point, in this inordinacy the literature exists” (7). Literature, according to R. Barthes, is "socially responsible", it is not a passive product of social development, but the active principle ... one of the springs, which ensure the development of history itself” (1). The study of a literary text and a touch to world of other culture joint reader-student to this immense world and make him a citizen, a member of the world community, a person with knowledge of world culture and owner of universal cultural values. Such person has a timeless value – multiculturalism. Literary texts, as well as knowledge of foreign languages, make our world perspective, clear and friendly thanks to understanding and such qualities as tolerance, the desire for dialogue.

There are countless assessment and interpretations of the same text, which emphasizes such property of literary text as suggestiveness (from Lat. suggestio – suggestion) – the ability of a text to influence on subconscious of a reader. The subjectivity of a literary text is an objective consequence of its specificity. This feature allows selecting those interpretations that meet its objective properties. Relative objectivity and subjectivity in perception of text are equally important. Without first it is impossible linguistic study of text, without second – understanding it particularly as literary. And both of these aspects of the text being are difficult to separate from each other, there is no clear difference between them. There are complex relations between the world of art and material world, because there is a reflection of objective world (complex, indirect) and fantasy are intertwined. The specificity of literature and art lies in a unique combination of fiction and loyalty to the truth of life. This feature of literary text can be skillfully used in multicultural education of students as means of influence on personality.

Analysis of understanding of written texts is both an analysis of their social role and functional nature: it does not eliminate a value of studying structure of texts, does not contradict him, but cannot be reduced to it. As a cultural phenomenon the text exists in sign form and has significance. In psycho-pedagogical context it is important that text is an essential component of communication. “Text is a mechanism that controls the process of understanding. It seems clear that an understanding of texts is not an end in itself, their contents reflects real relations of things that are relevant to thinking, actions and intentions of people "(2).

In process of education aimed on establishing a multi-cultural competence of students, using texts, acting on student’s emotional state, can unobtrusively but purposefully to impact educationally through a polylogue teacher – text – student.

The process of comprehension is an active exploratory. A student, who reads a text under guidance of a teacher, not only highlights some meaning cores of text, but also compares them with each other, often returning to places already passed, what happens in a process of finding answers to questions. This process of active analysis and clarifying contents of text by comparing its elements can be defined as a process of analyzing through adhesion or synthesis. Understanding takes place on three levels simultaneously. On the first level, a sequential change of structure, recreating situation in minds from one element to another, is occurring – this is so-called level of assembly.

Parallel to this, mental center of situation is moved in minds of reader from one element to another. Moving is not necessarily straightforward, it can be abrupt, sometimes from back to front, such as in detectives.

At the third level, along with installation and moving through a process of understanding, some picture of its common sense is formed, which is called concept of text (3). The reader will penetrate the understanding that it is not given in text directly.

Thank to language of text a man can penetrate deep into things, go beyond direct experience, organize own purposeful behavior, reveal complex connections and relationships, that are inaccessible to direct perception pass information to another person, that is a potent stimulus of mental development.

There are two types of texts, which are essential in building educational process: structural and organized the whole and narrative field. The text as a narrative field (4) is represented in the concept of A.A. Brudny. Scientist calls text such combination of characters, which expresses certain content, addressed to people and having the time deploy and easy to understand and reproduction. In his conception, the text enters into relationships, which influence the behavior, thoughts of people, because of linguistic expression of thoughts and feelings. According to philosopher, knowing a text, a man knows himself. It is in this an answer to question lies, why it is easier to understand narrative text, not full of facts and evidences. Such texts are perceived, remembered, transmitted more easily, that serves to communicative process. In mind of reader, signs, which are used by the author, should be lined up in the same sequence that is leading to an understanding of the idea, which author has placed in his text. In this case, it is occurring restoration of meaning structure, laid in text by process of thinking. Text “gets its content directly with consciousness of reader, … process of understanding “closes” to form a single whole that is contained in text and what happens in mind of reading person” (5).

An understanding of texts may include several stages, each of which has relative independence and convention. Table 1 shows structurally and organized content and narrative field of text.

Stage    Structurally and organized content    Narrative field

  • 1. Identifying syntactic form. Correct and incorrect elements. Meaningful comparison of logical constants.    Relation to reality, as reflected in text. Revealing truth or falsity of content.
  • 2. Identification of semantically meaningful, semantic structural units and solution of question about their general semantic meaning.    Form of expression in text, addressed to people for understanding.
  • 3. Knowing an importance of structural units.    A text as an expression of author’s position, goals and frame of reference.
  • 4. Accounting for context of use: linguistic and nonlinguistic.    Relationship with previous and subsequent author’s texts.
  • 5. Accounting for pragmatic criteria: biography of the author, historical situation, the nature of communicative relations.    Local plan: circumstances in which text has been created and interpreted.

In terms of narrative fields, a reality, which is reflected in the text, is directly related to facts set forth in the text using linguistic tools.
The first stage of process of understanding the structural and organized text is associated with identification of its syntactic form. At this stage there are two conditions for understanding. The first involves an ability to distinguish grammatically correct elements from wrong ones. This text is not yet presented to us as a system of related sentences. The second condition relates to an identification of meaning of logical constants and with correlation of their use in this text with the generally accepted rules of logic. Both conditions together constitute what is called a logical and grammatical possession of the text.
The second stage is to identify semantically meaningful, semantic structural units and to solve a question about their general semantic meaning. In narrative field, an adequacy of understanding of basic values, presented in text of the vocabulary, with which an idea expressed by author, is also revealed.

Knowing an importance of structural units is that the third condition of understanding texts. The third attitude, in which a text enters, according to Brudny, is the attitude to author of text. Here it is assumed a penetration to author’s thinking and the identification of causes, which led him to create the text. To some extent, these searches can be structural units of text, or they can be identified from the whole context of work.

The fourth prerequisite of understanding is taking into account a context, which may be linguistic and nonlinguistic. The last may be real state of affairs in question, possible (conceivable) state of affairs, historical facts and events, knowledge, taken into consideration, when interpreting text (background knowledge). Linguistic contexts usually serve to eliminate an ambiguity of expressions. Non-linguistic contexts may also eliminate an ambiguity, and in addition, specify the value of structural elements and all text as a whole. As we can see, in the narrative text field the text is also seen in historical evolution, so it should be noted a broader context of research of text in narrative field.

From psychological and pedagogical point of view, the most important is taking into consideration pragmatic or applied criteria of text, on which use of this expression depends. In this context, understanding of text can be considered as a process, limited by scope of communicative situation, where there is a transfer of information (dialogue, communication) from one individual to another. Applications of text in order to multicultural education mean reproduction of text by participants of communication, transfer of their intention, nature of communicative act (serious message, a joke, disinformation, etc.). That is, text serves as means or reason for communication. In interpretation, biographical information about author of text is commonly used, historical situation is taken into account. Sometimes even manner of pronunciation or style of expression significantly affects understanding.

This stage of structurally and organized understanding of text corresponds, to a certain extent, to narrative one. According to Brudny, local plan for understanding of text is directly related to perception of meaning of text, as it is a site of fixation of expression of meaning. As an example, let see an excerpt from the novel of Antoine de Saint-Exup?ry “Terre des hommes" (8):

“If our purpose is to understand mankind and its yearnings, to grasp the essential reality of mankind, we must never set one man’s truth against another’s. Yes, you are right. All beliefs are demonstrably true. All men are demonstrably in the right. Anything can be demonstrated by logic. I say that man is right who blames all the ills of the world upon hunchbacks. Let us declare war on hunchbacks – and in the twinkling of an eye all of us will hate them fanatically. All of us will join to avenge the crimes of hunchbacks. Assuredly, hunchbacks, too, do commit crimes”.

Before us it is a small passage that begins with a postulate that is central to relationship of people of different cultures: “we must never set one man’s truth against another’s”. Values of life, kindness, family, love, peace, and so on are inherent to all people. The author refers to people with a unique tone of reflection, sorrow, wisdom and dreams with a love for life, with a persistent desire to understand the time, with a sense of responsibility to people. It is sufficient to recall his famous: “We are responsible for all those we have tamed” from “The Little Prince”.

"You all right" - he said, referring to his readers, comforting and encouraging thinking. How all can be right? But we are talking about diversity of opinions and concepts, about desire to understand each other, about tolerance, acceptance of others. “Anything can be demonstrated by logic” – another postulate, to which there are many examples. But the idea contained in this phrase, it is much wider than number of words contained in it. "Anything" can be true or may be a lie. It all depends on knowledge, from a set of skills, from emotionality and psychology of speaker and attitude of audience. Politicians skillfully use these skills, who play on national feelings, then fear, then poverty of people. You can change economic misery by investments, but spiritual poverty, moral weakness, by which currency can be enriched? “To avenge the crimes of hunchbacks” today, and what will be tomorrow? The author encourages us to think, to overcome painful confusion, to search for fraternal ties that unite people. He invites us to try to detect these fragile connections and to discard all superfluous, superficial, preventing appearance of friendship and love. In the text it sounds the word “war”, which reminds us of the time of writing the novel – the beginning of 1939 – the time of fascism, when the idea of purity of Aryan race has spread in Europe, an extermination of Jews already was in process, concentration camps have already appeared, where all dissidents “re-educated”. In connection with the war, we can recall the fate of the author himself – military pilot, who fall in battle. Being a pilot, Saint-Exup?ry, had often seen the earth from a height, and understood how its nature is fragile, how vulnerable are people with their claims to world domination, how easy life turns into death. As philosopher and writer, the author realized that political, economic, social forms of relationships between people are unreliable, and even denied them. He loved people, sick souls, for their present and future. Hatred of war, violence and humiliation of people on whatever basis, such as the hunchbacks are read in all his works. He looks at people in terms of morality. Perhaps that is why in his books, smiles blossom on faces of characters as a symbol of hope, love, joy and happiness. The call to brotherhood, desire to love a man, admiring by laborers – that are moral purposes, for which the author strove all his life. His books are still admired readers today.

As you can see, an analysis of passage with using hermeneutic techniques of narrative field helps to understand the meaning of universal moral ideas, embodied in text by the author, updates the value of work in modern conditions, awakens the consciousness of students.

An explanation of the text, based on interpretive methods for disclosure of humanistic essence of various phenomena, becomes the main condition for a genuine understanding of humanitarian learning. The interpretation in this case provides an increase of knowledge, serves as means of acquiring new knowledge in accordance with the purpose of our study. It should serve for forming universal values, which constitute the essence of multicultural education. This means that solution of educational and pedagogic tasks of multicultural education is due to interpretive techniques. In this case, plurality of different interpretations of the same humanitarian fact is real and normal condition of learning. Pluralism of opinions in humanities is an objective factor that depends on subject and specifics of humanities. The principle of unity of objective truth and axiological evaluation is a basic principle of scientific learning. Consequently, the choice (preference) and the clash of different models are fairly common ways of knowledge in field of humanities. The principle of unity of objective truth and axiological evaluation is a basic principle of scientific knowledge.

The methodological basis of such education, in our case, is hermeneutic approach, which is to understand the meaning of texts of fiction, which reflects the universal values.

Literature:

  • 1. Bart R. Selected Works: Semiotics: The Poetics / Trans. with Fr., Comp., total. Ed. and introd. of Art. GK Kosikova. - Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989. - P. 373 (in Russian)
  • 2. Brudnyi AA Science to understand. - Bishkek. - 1996. - P. 163-164 (in Russian)
  • 3. The same. - P. 145-146.
  • 4. The same. - P. 187-188.
  • 5. The same. - P. 164-165.
  • 6. P. Voelen slammed the door. - The French language today. - June 1995. - № 110. - P. 25-26 (in French)
  • 7. Legros J. Why Literature? - The French language today. - June 1995. - № 110. - P.82 (in French)
  • 8. Saint-Exupery A. The planet of people. - Frunze, Kyrgyzstan, 1982. - P. 144-145 (in Russian)
Comments: 5

Shemyakina Mariya

Достаточно интересная и актуальная работа. Соглашусь в той части, что герменевтический подход, действительно, крайне важен в современном образовании, особенно при изучении художественных текстов. Но впечатление от прочитанного достаточно сложное. С одной стороны, очевидна попытка серьезного лингвистического (языкового) анализа предлагаемого вопроса, а с другой - не вполне, с моей точки зрения, удавшееся исследование в области художественной прозы. Не совсем очевидны аспекты анализа художественного текста, тем более, что текст прозы и стихотворный несколько разные вещи. Видится, что автор работы увлеченный оптимист, верящий, что знание мировой культуры автоматически делает человека владельцем универсальных ценностей, тем паче, что сам же автор определяется в верности понимания герменевтики, как "понимания" смысла вещей или его попытки.

Shemyakina Mariya

Достаточно интересная и актуальная работа. Соглашусь в той части, что герменевтический подход, действительно, крайне важен в современном образовании, особенно при изучении художественных текстов. Но впечатление от прочитанного достаточно сложное. С одной стороны, очевидна попытка серьезного лингвистического (языкового) анализа предлагаемого вопроса, а с другой - не вполне, с моей точки зрения, удавшееся исследование в области художественной прозы. Не совсем очевидны аспекты анализа художественного текста, тем более, что текст прозы и стихотворный несколько разные вещи. Видится, что автор работы увлеченный оптимист, верящий, что знание мировой культуры автоматически делает человека владельцем универсальных ценностей, тем паче, что сам же автор определяется в верности понимания герменевтики, как "понимания" смысла вещей или его попытки.

Lagoda Oksana Nikolaevna

Полностью согласна с коллегами. Поднятая в докладе тема достаточно злободневна.

Syraev Dmitry Gennadevich

Актуальная и интересная статья! «Призыв к братству, желание любить человека» – те ценности, к которому стремится гуманитарная наука, герменевтический подход к литературным текстам, помогает понять моральный смысл, служит для формирования общечеловеческих ценностей, что является крайне необходимым аспектом в цивилизованном обществе!

Lugovaya Tatyana Anatolievna

Очень актуальная постановка проблемы качества образования. Внедрение герменевтического подхода к пониманию текстов, включенных в программу обучения - сложная задача. Тем не менее она решает многие проблемы авторской надстройки многих учебников и лекционных курсов, особенно тех, что касаются истории.
Comments: 5

Shemyakina Mariya

Достаточно интересная и актуальная работа. Соглашусь в той части, что герменевтический подход, действительно, крайне важен в современном образовании, особенно при изучении художественных текстов. Но впечатление от прочитанного достаточно сложное. С одной стороны, очевидна попытка серьезного лингвистического (языкового) анализа предлагаемого вопроса, а с другой - не вполне, с моей точки зрения, удавшееся исследование в области художественной прозы. Не совсем очевидны аспекты анализа художественного текста, тем более, что текст прозы и стихотворный несколько разные вещи. Видится, что автор работы увлеченный оптимист, верящий, что знание мировой культуры автоматически делает человека владельцем универсальных ценностей, тем паче, что сам же автор определяется в верности понимания герменевтики, как "понимания" смысла вещей или его попытки.

Shemyakina Mariya

Достаточно интересная и актуальная работа. Соглашусь в той части, что герменевтический подход, действительно, крайне важен в современном образовании, особенно при изучении художественных текстов. Но впечатление от прочитанного достаточно сложное. С одной стороны, очевидна попытка серьезного лингвистического (языкового) анализа предлагаемого вопроса, а с другой - не вполне, с моей точки зрения, удавшееся исследование в области художественной прозы. Не совсем очевидны аспекты анализа художественного текста, тем более, что текст прозы и стихотворный несколько разные вещи. Видится, что автор работы увлеченный оптимист, верящий, что знание мировой культуры автоматически делает человека владельцем универсальных ценностей, тем паче, что сам же автор определяется в верности понимания герменевтики, как "понимания" смысла вещей или его попытки.

Lagoda Oksana Nikolaevna

Полностью согласна с коллегами. Поднятая в докладе тема достаточно злободневна.

Syraev Dmitry Gennadevich

Актуальная и интересная статья! «Призыв к братству, желание любить человека» – те ценности, к которому стремится гуманитарная наука, герменевтический подход к литературным текстам, помогает понять моральный смысл, служит для формирования общечеловеческих ценностей, что является крайне необходимым аспектом в цивилизованном обществе!

Lugovaya Tatyana Anatolievna

Очень актуальная постановка проблемы качества образования. Внедрение герменевтического подхода к пониманию текстов, включенных в программу обучения - сложная задача. Тем не менее она решает многие проблемы авторской надстройки многих учебников и лекционных курсов, особенно тех, что касаются истории.
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